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Found a defect on your car? You might be able to make a claim under the lemon law. Find out what is covered and if you can get a refund or replacement here.

Category: Car Buying Advice


Having problems or defects with your newly purchased vehicle? Think you might have just bought a lemon? You might just be covered under the Lemon Law in Singapore.

The Lemon Law has been in place since 2012, and there are some facts you should know about. But it can be confusing for car buyers to understand, or even make a claim.

We have summarised some common questions with regards to the lemon law for vehicles in Singapore, along with an easy guide on the legal process behind it.

What is Lemon Law?

The lemon law covers all cars purchased from dealers, both used and new
Simply put, the law protects consumers against defects of goods purchased within six months in Singapore.

It includes all goods purchased that are brand new or used, including cars. This law overwrites warranty periods that are shorter than six months.

It covers all kinds of defects - big or small - that were not highlighted at the time of purchase. For the law to be effective, you should have an evaluation checklist completed before purchase.

The Singapore Vehicle Traders Association has come up with a Standard and Functional Evaluation Checklist that you can download here.

Aside from workshops, inspection centres also have evaluation services for used cars. This will help in getting you properly covered under the lemon law.

Exceptions

Consumer-to-consumer purchases, such as buying a car from a direct owner, are not covered under the lemon law
The lemon law covers defects big or small, but does not include wear and tear items. For example, you cannot make a claim for worn out tyres.

It also depends if you bought your car from a direct owner or dealer. Consumer-to-consumer transactions do not benefit from the lemon law.

That means if you're buying from a direct owner, or a consignment dealer, you will not be covered.

Some used car dealers do pose as direct owners or consignment dealers to circumvent the lemon law.

You are covered under Lemon Law..

This car had frayed connectors that caused gearbox issues, which are reasonable grounds for a lemon law claim if not highlighted previously during evaluation
If you bought the car from a dealer, and a new defect is found within six months since the date of purchase, you are covered under the lemon law.

Or, if you can prove the fault existed within the six-month window.

This is where having a vehicle assessment report will come in handy.

You are also covered if the problem or issue is new, and the defect was not initially highlighted and agreed upon at the time of purchase.

You are not covered under Lemon Law..

If a defect was highlighted before and you proceeded to purchase the vehicle, it will not be covered under lemon law
If the defect was first detected and highlighted in the vehicle report, it is a clear indication that the lemon law does not apply.

The lemon law also doesn't apply if you decide to change your mind after purchasing the vehicle with the defects made known to you.

Damage from your own repair or a workshop will not be covered, too.

You will also not be covered if the initial defect highlighted in the report is in relation to the new defect. For example, if the vehicle was purchased with a leaky transmission defect, a failed transmission within six months will not be covered under the law.

How to make a claim?

CASE will be able to better advice consumers who want to make a claim under the lemon law
In many instances, directly contacting the car dealer should suffice when it comes to solving any issues that are covered under lemon law.

If the results are not satisfactory, there are other ways to seek recourse.

For claims not exceeding $10,000, you can immediately take up your case to the Small Claims Tribunal.

Drafting letters to dealers for a claim under the law can be assisted with the help of the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE). You do not need to be a member of CASE for this, although you will need to submit the letter to the dealer yourself. Alternatively, you can sign up as a member for CASE to establish a means of commucation between both parties.

You can also receive a free legal consultation with Parwani Law, offering comprehensive legal solutions for the automotive industry.

What can I get from the claim?

Dealers are expected to recify faults that were deemed to have failed during the six-month period after purchase
If you are successful, the car dealer is legally bound to rectify the defects found on your vehicle.

There are generally three positive outcomes from a successful claim under the lemon law. First, is the overall repair or replacement of the defective part, covered by the dealer.

Second, is a price reduction of the purchase price of the vehicle. Third, although not as common, is the full refund of the vehicle upon returning it.

For new cars, the law also allows for a new replacement vehicle if it is uneconomical to repair. If successful, the law allows for the Certificate of Entitlement and Preferential Registration Fees to be transferred to the replacement vehicle in the six month window.

Here are some articles related to the Lemon Law that you might be interested in

Lemon Law refund policy frequently asked questions

Does buying a used car mean you're protected by Lemon Law?

Used car dealers turning to consignment deals


Second-hand car dealers posing as owners to sell their cars

CASE launches SAFE checklist for pre-owned car purchases

Have issues with your used car? You might be covered under the Lemon Law. Head here for legal advice from Parwani Law.
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